The last time the New York Mets had this big a lead in the NL East, there was a team in Montreal, none in Colorado, Florida or Arizona and the wild card was used only in the National Football League.
The last time New York won three straight in Atlanta, current manager Willie Randolph was a second baseman with the Yankees.
The Mets will try to expand their seven-game division lead and cap their first three-game sweep in Atlanta in more than 26 years when they meet the Braves at Turner Field on Sunday.
The Mets lead over the Braves—winners of 14 straight division titles—is their largest since finishing 15 games ahead of second-place Pittsburgh at the end of the 1988 season.
“It is nice, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think anybody in here is getting too caught up in it,” said Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, who on Saturday earned a rare win against his former team. “Regardless of what happens (Sunday), nobody in here thinks that team is going away. … You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself. It’s just a good first month of the year.”
Winning three straight in Atlanta has been a long time coming as well. The Mets’ last three-game series sweep there came August 14-16, 1979 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, although they recorded a four-game sweep from July 4-7, 1985 in a series that began with a memorable 16-13 victory in 19 innings.
New York (16-7) will look to Steve Trachsel (2-1, 3.13 ERA) in the finale when he makes his fifth start of the season and first against Atlanta (9-14). The veteran right-hander held San Francisco to three hits over six innings on Tuesday in the Mets’ 4-1 win, when the only run he allowed came on Barry Bonds’ 710th career home run.
In a 2005 season shortened by back surgery, Trachsel was shelled in two September losses against Atlanta, allowing nine runs and 16 hits with five walks over 13 1-3 innings. Trachsel has recorded decisions in his last nine starts versus the Braves and owns an 11-14 career mark against them.
Kyle Davies (1-2, 4.56) hopes his second start of the season against the Mets is as good as the first. On April 18, Davies tossed a three-hitter for his first career complete game.
The 22-year-old right-hander struck out six and walked one in his 17th major league start. He threw 77 of 106 pitches for strikes and retired his final 10 batters.
“It’s unbelievable,” Davies said. “You almost doubt your stuff after the first two games. You don’t want to, but it’s always that doubt.”
In his first two starts of 2006, Davies was tagged for nine runs and 14 hits in 9 2-3 innings. He also gave up four homers on April 13 in a 7-6 loss to Philadelphia.
After Pedro Martinez helped lead New York to a 5-2 win Friday in the series opener, Glavine followed with a strong outing. The left-hander allowed four hits, walked two and struck out one over seven innings in New York’s 1-0 victory.
The win was just Glavine’s second in eight starts against Atlanat since leaving the Braves after the 2002 season.
Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado needs one homer to break the franchise record for the most in April. Dave Kingman set the mark when he hit nine for New York in 1976.
Atlanta shortstop Edgar Renteria will try to extend his hitting streak to 15 games after going 1-for-4 on Saturday. He is hitting .350 (21-for-60) during the streak. Renteria is batting .417 (15-for-36) with a homer, four RBIs and six strikeouts in his career against Trachsel.